Friday, August 30, 2013

Review and Giveaway! Hidden Mickeys

Win a copy of Hidden Mickeys and search for the mouse on your next WDW vacation.

In April 2003, I went to Walt Disney World with my parents and brother to celebrate my birthday and DisneyDad's.  I have no idea now where I found them but I brought a couple copies of a small book with me on that vacation.  It was a newly released book called "Hidden Mickeys A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets." My family had known about Hidden Mickeys and had visited Walt Disney World many times so adding a little competition to our touring was perfect.  There was one copy for my parents and one copy for Chris and me.  Each day, we used these new books to find Hidden Mickeys throughout the park of the day and I had prizes for the winners.  I remember Chris and I riding Haunted Mansion several times to really catch one in the final scene.

Hidden Mickeys book

Fast forward to 2013.  Author Steven M. Barrett has celebrated ten years of publishing his Hidden Mickey books and the sixth edition is currently available, complete with New Fantasyland Hidden Mickeys.  Wow.  Congratulations to Steve! 

Hidden Mickeys book

The latest version is just as much fun as the original.  It has a great layout for finding Mickey while you are on the go.  There is a chapter for each park as well as a few chapters toward the end that combine smaller locations.  If you followed each park's chapter in order, it even makes a decent touring plan.

Hidden Mickey in Maelstrom, viking with Mickey ears

Within the chapters you have two levels of difficulty.  First, the basic clue.  For example, at Maelstrom Clue 34 says, "Find the viking wearing Mickey ears." (My personal favorite.)  If you are having trouble locating it, flip to the back of the chapter to the Hints section.  There it says, "On the left side of the large loading area mural, a Viking in a ship wears Mickey ears.  He's sitting below the middle red stripe of the sail."  I'd say that's pretty specific!  I love that the Hints section is marked Hints all along the edge so that you don't accidentally look there if you'd rather try on your own.

Hidden Mickey in Maelstrom, viking with Mickey ears

Earlier I mentioned competition.  Each Hidden Mickey in the book is given a points value.  My favorite  in the example above is worth 3 points.  The others in this attraction are harder to spot so they would earn you 4 or 5 points each.  Over the day, keep track of your points and she with the most wins.

Mr. Barrett's Hidden Mickeys empire now includes books for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise line, as well as apps for WDW and Disneyland.  If you find one he hasn't listed, share it with him via his website and he might mention you in his book.

I've enjoyed Hidden Mickeys for years and I can't wait to take my book to Walt Disney World this fall.  I'm giving away a copy and entering is simple.  Best of luck!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Photo Flashback! 40 year old Letter "N"

This week's Wordless Wednesday brings us the Disney Letter "N" as in Chip 'N Dale.

The fourth post in our photo series of slides taken 40 years ago is one from June 1973 of Chip 'n Dale during a parade near the Tomorrowland Speedway.

growing Up Disney photo flashback
Chip 'n Dale June 1973

Chip 'n Dale have aged quiet well.  Here are pictures taken with Tink and Minnie, May 2013, to see how little they have changed.  If I had only aged as well!

growing Up Disney photo flashback
Dale with Tink and Minnie May 2013

growing Up Disney photo flashback
Chip with Tink and Minnie May 2013
For the previous posts in this series:
Focused on the Magic

Friday, August 23, 2013

Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken - The Disney Songbook at D23 Expo

growing up disney

Do you just love the music of Mary Poppins?  Can you sing the words to "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?" Or maybe like Walt Disney do you love "Feed the Birds"?

Or does your tastes in Disney songs go towards songs like The Little Mermaid's "Kiss the Girl"?  Or (forgive me for this) have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head that won't go away for sometimes days like (please feel free to sing along) "It's a Small World after all?"

These wonderful songs and many many others have been brought to you by Richard M. Sherman (along with his late brother Robert Sherman) and Alan Menken. Together they have won 10 Academy awards for their work with Disney.  They have composed music and songs for more than three dozen Disney feature films, over two dozen Disney Park attractions, and half a dozen Disney musicals on Broadway.  At Disney's recent D23 Expo (8/9/2013 to 8/11/2013) in Anaheim, California  they performed a once-in-a-lifetime concert titled: "Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken: The Disney Songbook" where they performed some of their favorite songs they have written for Disney and talked about their work there.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 I had the honor of representing on a media only teleconference with Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken.  It was a question and answer session first with Alan Menken, then joined by Richard Sherman the two talked and answered questions about their work. The teleconference ended with Richard Sherman having his question and answer session.

Alan Menken said "its fun" to play for Disney fans and that it is a "pleasant ego trip" in the way that Disney fans react to his music.  When asked about the "process of writing for Disney movies" Mr. Menken said that you have to "cherish the audience" as you write the songs.  He said he is involved with the writers from the beginning as "music will drive the story".

When Richard Sherman joined Alan Menken they were asked about the song set for the D23 Expo.  Mr. Sherman, when asked of his favorite songs, described them as "which one of his children" he liked the best. And that the song set would be a "sampling" of various songs from over the years.

The two men discussed some of their songs they were surprised became a hit in their movies.  Mr. Sherman was surprised "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins became as big as it did.  Mr. Menken said the song "Part of your World" almost did not make it into "The Little Mermaid".  The songs "Kiss the Girl" and "Under the Sea" surprised him with their popularity.

When asked about working for Walt Disney, Mr. Sherman said that "Walt set high marks to work toward" in writing songs for Disney movies.  He talked about how Walt Disney would have them come in and sing "Feed the Birds" for him as it was his favorite song.  When asked what song was most challenging to write, Mr. Sherman said "anytime you have a blank page, it is challenging".  He went on to talk about writing one song for Mary Poppins.  The inspiration came from one of their children talking about taking the polio vaccine on a sugar cube, and from that simple comment came "A Spoon Full of Sugar".

Mr. Sherman described himself as "exeuberated" about the D23 performance.  In discussing his song writing he said "I have a good time" and "I never feel like I am working" as he would be happy to write "without getting money".  "I have a great time".

Mr Sherman, now at 85, sounded like he was still a little kid in describing his work at Disney and looking forward to performing with his good friend Alan Menken for the Disney fan family at D23.

I came away from the call wishing I could attend the concert.  I'm sure it was a blast to hear these two "Disney Legends" perform their songs.


Sorry for getting you stuck with "It's a Small World" in your head.  I got the idea for the beginning of this article early in the day while at work.  I dashed out the first lines so I would remember the idea.  Later in the day as I left work, I found my self whistling as I walked to my car.  What was I whistling?  "It's a Small World". :-)  Mr. Sherman's and Mr. Menken's songs have a way of sticking with you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Photo Flashback! Disney Weenies

In Disney speak, a "weenie" is something that can be seen from a distance, peaks a guest's interest and pulls them into the park or land.  The Walt Disney World Resort is full of great examples of this and I'd like to share a few with you today.

The best and most obvious weenie is Cinderella Castle.  I'd say it even draws people all the way from their homes states away and it has real power once you arrive in Central Florida.
From across the water, Cinderella Castle beckons to arriving guests
 My girls have already felt the call of the castle
Pirates of the Caribbean entices guests further into Adventureland 
Beast's Castle is a weenie in New Fantasyland

Hmm, wonder what's in that spoky building in the distance?
Splash Mountain encourages guests into the far reaches of Frontierland
I love Space Mountain but somehow this photo from 1975 was all I could find. (LOVE DisneyDad's old photos.)
Spaceship Earth calls to you while entering the park
American Adventure encourages guests to trek aound World Showcase
I'm with the group who prefers the Chinese Theatre, but the Sorcerer Hat is ahead as you enter Hollywood Studios
Let's go see what that is...
Our nephew's Flat Grant wants to see what's going on with that huge tree
Early vistas of Expedition Everest certainly draw guests toward the forbidden mountain
And as a DVC Member, I have to include the lighthouse from Old Key West

Thanks to Deb for a great theme this week!  And many thanks to the Growing Up Disney family: today's post includes photos taken by each of us.
Focused on the Magic

Monday, August 19, 2013

Five Photos: Rope Drop at the Magic Kingdom

Have you ever been to Rope Drop at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World?  You have to get up real early and join the masses of people who are, like you, wanting to be the "first" to get into the park for today.  Here are some pictures from May 2013 of our latest Rope Drop.

growing up disney
Waiting with a few of our "close" friends for the Magic Kingdom to open.

growing up disney
The Magic Kingdom train station.

growing up disney
Fire Chief Smokey Miller was the Master of Ceremonies for Rope Drop.

growing up disney
Mickey and all his friends came in on the train for the Rope Drop festivities.

growing up disney
Yea!! Time for my friends and me to enter the Park for the day!!

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us at Growing Up Disney!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Magical Blogorail: Favorite Disney Character Dining

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.
Magical Blogorail, walt disney world character dining
This month, Magical Blogorail Red is sharing our favorite Walt Disney World restaurants for character dining. I've covered this before (click here) so I am going to take a slightly different approach from what I expect the rest of the gang is doing. I'll be briefly discussing the character meal locations within the theme parks.

Magic Kingdom
Crystal Palace: Serves buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Characters are Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet.

I prefer breakfast here over the other meals. I love how bright it is in the morning and it's a fun way to start the day. I find buffet character meals to be chaotic and this one is no exception but a Pooh bear hug seems to make it better. And my children eat breakfast better than any other meal, so that helps it be a more enjoyable experience.
Oh, my lovely Crystal Palace costume
Expecting Tink, October 2008
Bear hugs!, May 2013
This girl loves breakfast
Cinderella's Royal Table: Serves plated breakfast, lunch and dinner. The characters are Cinderella and her royal friends (no specific list is guaranteed.) For those on the Disney Dining Plan, two table service credits are required. A photo package is included in the cost.
This used to be a family favorite going back to the King Stephan's days but I haven't been here since 2005. At that time it was my choice for my post-marathon celebration dinner and other than the occasional meet and greet with Cinderella in the lobby, characters were not involved except at breakfast. I have two little girls so I am sure we will dine with Cinderella in the future. Since we are frequent WDW guests, I am spacing out some of the quintessential Disney experiences to make them more special. I think both of my girls will be the perfect age for this in about two more years.

Garden Grill: We've dined here a few times, most recently as May 2013. This is a dinner served family style and Mickey, Pluto and Chip and Dale visit each table. The food here is very good and I have an overall good impression of the place. Gotta love a rotating restaurant. On our last visit, it seemed very hot and very loud but it just wasn't our best night so I'm not sure anywhere would have worked out smoothly.
Hanging out with Dale, May 2013
Couldn't resist a selfie
Menu from May 2013
Ridge with Mickey in February 2007.  I don't think Mickey's costume has changed.
Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: One word: Fabulous! Akershus offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with an assortment of princesses. A photo package is included. The hot food is brought to your table and a cold buffet is available as well.

My brother and I had lunch at Akershus many years ago and other than a running inside joke, the experience didn't inspire us. Now this is a character dining location and it's wonderful. On our girls only trip in January 2013, we had the best time here. I can't do it justice in a paragraph. You'll just have to check out the review.

Me, my girls, my BFF, and Belle. 
One of my favorite Disney moments.
I do have pictures other than her eating...somewhere...

Disney's Hollywood Studios
Play 'N Dine at Hollywood and Vine: Breakfast and lunch buffets with characters from Disney Junior shows. I haven't been yet since my girls didn't really know the characters well enough to spend more time and money on character meals. However, Janine from our Minnie Moms had a fantastic time there for breakfast.

Disney's Animal Kingdom
Tusker House: African-inspired breakfast and lunch buffets with Donald greeting outside the restaurant and Minnie, Daisy and Goofy visiting inside. Dinner is not a character meal.

We have had lunch here twice since it changed format from counter service to buffet and both experiences were very good. One of the advantages of writing a blog is being able to look back at what you thought in the past. After Tink's first WDW for her first birthday, I reviewed Tusker House as our best meal of the trip. We took both girls to the character buffet there in November 2012 and also had a good time. As I've said before, my girls eat breakfast well and we made our first pass on the buffet during the transition from breakfast to lunch. I was able to get Mickey waffles for the girls and the adults could begin to enjoy the seafood stew, samosas, and the other lunch offerings. As with other character meals, it was hectic for a time but the restaurant seemed to settle down about halfway through our meal.
The best pictures at character meals tend to come when the restaurant is slow, so the beginning or end of a meal period can work out well.
DisneyDad getting in on the fun
(If the spacing on today's article looks odd, I apologize. My computer is fighting my efforts to correct the overly spaced sections. It's after midnight as I write this and I am about to give up and go to bed. ~Amy)

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is My Dreams of Disney.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
2nd Stop ~ A World View
3rd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
4th Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
Final Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay

Friday, August 2, 2013

See Ya Real Soon!

Hiya pals! I hope you have a great weekend. It's time here for some last-chance-before-school-starts visits with family and friends. I also need to do some cleaning up on the blog to make our archives a little easier to use. The crew and I will be posting off and on for the next couple of weeks and should be back to a regular schedule soon. 

Take care!